Are motorcycles beautiful? What is it about the sight of our bikes that sets our hearts on fire all over again every spring? Meet Amy Shore, an avid rider and automotive photographer who has made a career of documenting beautiful machines and the people who love them. She calls motorcycles “the most artistic form of transport.” But in a conversation by turns funny and insightful, she dispenses with any notion that we’re manipulated by design. Instead, Amy affirms what anyone who has ever been obsessed by a motorcycle already knows: stories are what make them beautiful, and they only become more so every time we thumb the starter.

Show Notes

Amy Shore (Photo: iamshore.com)

I mentioned in my introduction that this is an important season for Movember. For more information about Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, go to Movember’s web site. If you’re interested in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride this year, your dapper journey starts here.

Everything you want to know about the Santa Cruz Motorcycle Film Festival can be found right here. I wasn’t kidding about the quality of the films… this community has some amazing storytellers, and they’re getting better every year.

Many thanks to Episode 6’s Hugh Francis Anderson for making this introduction. Time has not dimmed his eye for coolness.

I am a great fan of Amy Shore’s work. She’s a star among a generation of young photographers who are finding romance and art in old machines especially, qualities that we sometimes take for granted or don’t see clearly when a thing is new. You should definitely treat yourself to a web site visit so you can view her portfolio. But I’d also suggest following her on Instagram, where she shares much more about her process – sometimes as it’s happening – and about herself and her life as an enthusiast. She’s @amyshorephotography. And here‘s a link to the Driven Chat Podcast, of which Amy is a co-host (they’re also on Facebook). It’s mostly about cars, but it’s great listening anyway 😉  Be sure to catch their recent interview with Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride founder Mark Hawwa.

Amy’s BSA (Photo from her Instagram feed)

I thought this was awesome: During our conversation, Amy made reference to advice being “a form of nostalgia” and… something about sunscreen. Despite my knowing chuckle, I didn’t recognize the reference, so I looked it up. It turns out to be from a wonderful funny-because-it’s-true 1997 commencement address by the Australian film director Baz Luhrmann. Transcripts are littered around the internet, but it’s even better when you hear him deliver it. A YouTube link is below.

I mentioned The Art of the Motorcycle, the famous Guggenheim exhibit, early in the interview. Here‘s a bit of history, and here are the remnants of the story on the Guggenheim’s web site.

I also mentioned a video, by Canadian motorcycle gear retailer FortNine, in which Ryan attempts to deconstruct the beauty of an FTR12oo. You’ll find it below. The video is smart and maybe gives us a glimpse into the mind of the designer. But it’s a little light on romance, if you ask me, and some of the most loved bikes in the world don’t exactly follow the formula. What do you think?

We talked about two events that offer target rich environments if you’re looking for beautiful motorcycles, the Goodwood Revival and the Great Malle Rally. Follow the links to find out more.

In my closing comments, I reminisced about a bike I’d seen at a custom show a few years back. Above is that bike. It’s owned, it turns out, by a genuine character who goes by the name of @hillbillybobber on Instagram.

 

Red Molly (Photo: Annabel Braithwaite)

A sucker for roots music and a well-played dobro guitar, I was delighted to discover this incredible performance of “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” by Red Molly. I was even more delighted when I asked the band how they’d feel about being featured on this podcast, both because they were into it, and because they were so completely great about it. The fact that they’re Movember supporters made meeting them even better. Talent and heart are a rare combination. I’m their newest fan, at least until you discover them, too. You can learn more and get concert information at their web site, which is here. You might also enjoy watching them perform this track live, below.

As always, the theme music for this episode was arranged and performed by Harry Bartlett.

Finally, a nudge to scrounge up a few bucks from the couch cushions and make a contribution to the Movember Foundation in the name of this podcast… just click on the moustache below. Especially now, they could use all the help you can give them, and I’ll know you value this content. Thank you!

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4 comments on “Episode 37 – Eye Of The Beholder

  1. Another great podcast, Bruce! Being a former pro advertising Photog, Amy’s words were wonderful to hear and I could so relate to how she looks at these beasts we ride on. I’ve always felt that watching or shooting riders take their machines through the twists and turns is a lot like watching a couple dancing. So it was interesting to hear Amy’s take on it, too.
    As a last thought, I love love love Red Molly, and have seen them perform in the Boston/New England area in the past (and look forward to attending/enjoying again in the future). But I do want to say, that Richard Thompson did The Best Version of “1952 Vincent Black Lightning”, but just downloaded the Red Molly version to my iPod as it is great.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Hey, Marc, thank you! I enjoyed this one, and as a technical aside, it seems a lot easier to have fun in a conversation when your internet connection allows it to happen in real time. But I digress… and no argument on Richard Thompson. On top of which, geez, that guy can play. Thanks for listening!

  2. Mike Fingland May 15, 2021

    Another great podcast Bruce! Perhaps my favourite so far as I have a passion for both bikes and beginner level photography. I love taking pictures of my bikes, and other bikes when I travel. Perhaps now I understand more about why.

    Amy has a great web site and is very kind to share many photography tips there. Her hard work and passion for her craft are very inspiring.

    I too enjoyed Ryan at Fortnine’s very thoughtful discussion on style and beauty. Great to include that reference to this podcast.

    I look forward to more great episodes from you.

    All the best,
    Mike
    White Lake, Ontario

    • Thanks, Mike, I’m really glad you enjoyed it, and I really appreciate you saying so. I agree with you completely about Amy, but let’s face it… Ryan F9 is a national treasure 😉

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